Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Two ways to look at family

Mom took up the hobby of genealogy when I was a bratty teenager not interested in anything unless it directly impacted my immediate life. I was polite when listening to her excited stories of finding a "new" cousin but I really was thinking about that darling blue dress I was hoping to buy with my next babysitting job money.

The Cottage Master became interested in his family tree a few years ago and takes great delight in logging in names and dates of people who are such distant relatives that one needs a magnifying glass to see the connection.

I've accused him of being so thorough only in the hopes of eventually detecting that we are somehow related beyond the marriage bond and therefore nullify his vows.

Mom made copies of all her genealogy findings so that each of my brothers and I now have the information, stories and photos that she was able to collect.

I have recently become interested in looking at these items and mining the Internet for more pieces of the puzzle. My goal is to take the names, dates and stories and write about them. I would love to be able to weave them together and paint a verbal picture of these adventurous North American pioneers that make up our family history.

Dad had been an orphan since the age of 10 and raised by relatives. Mom was not able to get beyond the name of his grandfather in her research of that side of the family. But thanks to the Internet I've stumbled onto additional data.
After reading and tracking the comings and goings of a particular patriarch it became clear to me that he was not the usual strong, hard-working family man that all my other forefathers had been. That has caused me to think and wonder about how best to write about this gentleman.
The Cottage Master assures me that there is at least one black sheep in every family. It's one thing to laugh about a distant uncle whose life was cut short at the end of a rope after a cattle rustling episode and another when that relative's branch of the tree is much closer to your own.


1 comment:

Kim said...

Don't feel bad about having a black sheep in the famiily. One of my ancestors was written about and the title of her chapter was "The Bad Women of Colonial Virginia." I figure we can only look good compared to them!
Have fun with your research.